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Backroads of Pennsylvania    by Marcus Schneck & Glenn Davis order for
Backroads of Pennsylvania
by Marcus Schneck
Order:  USA  Can
Voyageur Press, 2003 (2003)
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Whether you live in Pennsylvania, want to travel to Pennsylvania, or know nothing at all about Pennsylvania and are simply curious, this is the book for you. A coffee table size softcover, Backroads of Pennsylvania provides a pictorial guide to this beautiful state. As a big bonus, the accompanying text is useful, informative, and instills in the reader the urge to get in the car and explore the back roads described.

The state is broken up into six sections. Day trips and overnighters are suggested to help you discover the glories of getting off the busy highways and interstates. Take some of the less bustling roads and let your mind slow down as well as your car. Some words from the chapter on The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania, known as Pine Creek Gorge by the locals: 'From any of the abundant vistas along the rim of the canyon, onlookers seem to stand atop the world, with a panorama of dense Pennsylvania forest spreading out below and before them. The view is broken only sporadically by landscape features like Pine Creek, rendered toylike by the sheer distance to its course on the canyon floor.' How many of you even knew there was a Grand Canyon in Pennsylvania?

Treasures like this abound throughout the book, accompanied by lush photography of the various regions. Line drawn maps accompany each section, with a route outlined taking the traveler through small towns with names like Wyalusing, Tunkhannock, Shawnee, Lake Wallenpaupack, North Mehoopany. How can one resist? Spend a day of discovery in Amish country in Lancaster County. Take an on-road buggy ride with Abe's Buggy Rides in Bird-in-Hand. Visit the Amish Country Homestead also in Bird-in-Hand. Don't miss The People's Place Quilt Museum in Intercourse and the wonderful farmers' markets you'll find scattered all over the area, which also includes Blue Ball and Paradise. Or head out to Ohiopyle State Park near the famous Falling Water, which Frank Lloyd Wright built in 1930 and which immediately became an icon of modern architecture.

Backroads of Pennsylvania is a treasure trove of places to go and things to see. If you can't get away just at this moment, enjoy the book's text and pictures while planning a future trip. I'm not sure where I'll go first, but you can be certain I shall use this great reference until it falls apart in my traveling hands.

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